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How to lose 4 kg in 4 days

Added on June 14, 2015
More than one student with strange ideas

Staying at the student's campus in Riga roughly once a year for over a decade has often been fun and enlightening. I remember seeing my “special” friend kissing a boy in the kitchen. Later, she told me that he is not her “real” boyfriend. Indeed, I saw her afterwards with another student. So there are boyfriends and real boyfriends. An interesting concept!

Not only the girls offered quite interesting points of view, also regarding politics, for instance the re-election of Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan and Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan in 2015, but the boys offered astonishing world visions too. I remember the Polish student who tried to convince me of the merits of the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Luckily, he was studying tourism and not political science. Then there was this boy from Kazakhstan who liked to be called bin Laden. No comment. Among my favorites was the student from Georgia (the country, not the US State), who considered the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (the father of the current leader; this discussion took place before the end of 2011) to be a great statesman.

Let's be fair, students with strange ideas cannot only be found in Riga. I met a series of US students in various countries who came forward with freakish conspiracy theories regarding 9/11. Two of them were even studying in Ivy League universities. The internet offers better access to information than ever before. Unfortunately, some students seem not to have learned how to deal in a critical way with the information they find on the web.

Books about Latvia and Riga from, and

Added on April 1, 2007
More fun from Riga

In 2006, I watched several DVDs with friends on my computer in the student hostel in Riga. My table tennis partner was embarrassed by the fantastic sex scene in Monster's Ball, for which alone Halle Berry deserved her Oscar as best actress. He told me to turn down the volume, afraid that the neighbors could think we were watching a porn movie.

I watched the same movie with a female friend, the arch enemy of my special friend, notably because she tried to have an affair or even had one with my special friend's boyfriend. Anyway, this other friend was very pleased with the volume during the scene, because she thought that the neighbors might think that we were having sex and might even tell it to my special friend. Maybe, I should have cared more about this catfight, which would have avoided me getting into trouble with my special friend.

In May 2006, I stayed again in Riga and invited this other girlfriend to the opera. She had moved out of the student hostel in the meantime. I only spoke to her on the phone. She agreed gladly, but never showed up. I called her a minute before the curtain opened. She told me that she would be unable to make it to the opera in time. By coincidence, the woman sitting next to me was pregnant and had to leave after the first act, helped by her husband.

The next day, I met a friend who knew this girl. He told me that she had moved out of the student hostel because she was pregnant and did not want the other girls to know about it. In the days of the opera performance, she was about to give birth to her child and, therefore, would never have been able to join me. In other words, she had just agreed to come to the opera in order to avoid that I would invite her arch enemy, my special friend, who was not in Riga at the time, but she could not know that.

You may ask what has the writer of this story to do with the child? Nothing. I have not even tried to kiss a single student in Riga...

Article added on December 9, 2005
How to lose 4 kg in 4 days

Arriving in Riga, I knew I had to invite a girl to the cinema. At the end of my last stay in the city, I had invited a girl to the cinema on a Thursday evening, until I found out that my flight left the morning of that very day. So my first move was to the student hostel where she lived, to invite her. Since I had decided to review several opera performances, I proposed her to come with me to the opera as well as to the cinema, in order to make up for the missed occasion. Unfortunately, of the four performances, she could only accompany to one, on the others she was busy working.

She came with me to a ballet performance in the opera on a Wednesday and, afterwards, I invited her to eat some sushi with me. She agreed to come with me to the cinema the following Monday and to a restaurant the following Wednesday.

I had invited her thinking that she had a boyfriend, when she revealed to me, with a vulnerable, innocent look in her eyes, which made me melt: ''I am free now." This was sweet, and at the same time courageous of her, meaning ''I like you'' and ''I have feelings for you.'' Women are often afraid of exposing themselves in this way.

Looking like 32 but being 41 and she around around 20, my feelings were more of a fatherly nature. However, when you hold a gorgeous woman in your arms in freezing Riga, you don't think about her age anymore.

On Saturday, after another opera performance which I attended with another student - because my dear friend had to work that evening - I met my dear friend again on the train. By this time, I had moved from a hotel to her student hostel in order to write a series of articles, unfinished in 2005 because of a broken wrist. At the student hostel, with no foreign TV, except Russian and Latvian, which I do not understand, I thought I would have plenty of time concentrating on my work.

On our way from the train station to the reception, my dear friend told me once more how terrible it was to study three days and work forty hours during the other four days of the week. She seemed close to tears and I felt terrible.

I had already proposed to her a small job if needed, e.g. translation some of our English pages into Russian. My feelings were particularly profound because a few days ago I realized that Google had once again dropped our one thousand deep links from its index, as had temporarily happened in summer, resulting in a loss of some 50% of our readers.

During the weekend, I tried to figure out what I could do for her. It would have been better to get some Latvian or Russian lessons from her, but since I would depart from Riga in early December, this was not an option (or only one for later).

Sunday, after a film I watched alone at the cinema, I took again the last train in order to meet her. But she had probably taken an earlier one. Monday, we were supposed to go to the cinema. But she forgot about it. She also told me that the thing with work was only a problem in November. She would look for a better job in December.

The day before our dinner, she told me she would not be able to come. I had already started losing my appetite on Sunday, but this became serious. On Wednesday, I passed by her room in order to persuade her to come with me. She told me that she had to go out around 5pm, to look for a job. I told her ''no problem'', since the dinner was only at 7pm. I could even postpone it for an hour or so. She told me she would try to come. I asked her to ''try hard''.

Then, she said, she would have to meet friends in order to prepare for an exam in microeconomics the next day. I said: ''No problem, I now microeconomics and could help you."

I called her from the restaurant at 7pm, and she told me, she could only come later. I said that it was okay and I would call her again at 8pm. At 8, she told me that she was with her sister and had important things to discuss. By then, my appetite was completely gone and I cancelled the dinner. I called her again later and asked her to pass by my room when she came back from her sister's place in order to discuss the matter. Of course, she never showed up.

The following morning, around 8am, when I was as usual reading the newspapers in the stinky computer room and therefore sitting near the open door, I saw her arrive at the reception. I asked her what had happened. She told me that she had just come back from her sister's place (I have no cell phone), and she walked away to her room. I felt I had to follow her like a dog, only later realizing that she was just in a rush to attend her classes. Finally, on her floor, I managed to catch up with her and calmly asked her the crucial question: ''Dear ***, do you like me? Are you sure you would like to go out with me? You don't have to. If not, just say it.'' She convincingly answered that she liked me and would like to go out with me but had had no time. I was relieved and should have stopped there. Instead, I had this stupid idea to explain why I was relieved. I said that I had already started wondering whether she had just been playing hard to get or whether she was a b****, playing games with me. I speak neither Latvian nor Russian, her English is relatively basic. From her facial reaction I understood immediately that the only word she had understood was b****.

It was of course all my fault, and too late to correct. She walked away. I immediately sent her two emails trying to explain the situation but realized that they just made things worse. I also understood that only red roses would be the right answer. I ran around the shops in the area to find some, which, after some running around, I finally managed to do.

I asked the cleaning lady on my floor whether she could help me open her door so that I could put the flowers in her room before she came back from university. The cleaning lady agreed, but had some other things to do first. After half an hour or so I went to my friend's floor in order to directly ask the cleaning lady working there. She happened to work in the toilets. Just when I was about to ask her I spotted my friend coming out of one of the toilets. I immediately rushed back to my room to get the roses. In her room, I told her that I had never intended to hurt her feelings, apologized for what I had said and asked her to forgive me. She seemed to have partially forgiven me, but afterwards, she continued to ignore me. By the time, I had lost four kg in four days, reaching my ideal weight which normally I only have in summer when my diet consists basically of water melons and Italian ice cream.

Since from Thursday to Sunday, communication between us had totally broken down, I bought her two cinema tickets and wanted to bring them to her working place, a restaurant. Unfortunately, I walked half an hour in the cold to the wrong one. She was of course not there. Later, I brought them to her roommate and told her that it was up to my dear friend to decide whether she still wanted to come with me or invite somebody else to the cinema. Later, in her room, I apologized once more and begged her to forgive me, but she was tired and wanted only to go to sleep.

At 2am on Monday morning, at times smiling at the events, at times looking at them with anger and then again with tears in my eyes, I wrote her the story in detail, this time, in a moment of anger, mentioning the ''B"-word as well as the fact that I had completely lost my appetite because I suffered from her attitude towards me. I even mentioned a witness - my table tennis partner, who desperately tried to lose wait while I was the only one who went from 64.9 kg to 60.9 in just four days; my partner of course ignored why. I also wrote her that she was overreacting, that this was not fair, and that she knew it. In the end, I mentioned once more that I never intended to hurt her feelings, that I sincerely apologized for what had happened and begged her again to forgive me. If she still liked me, she could come up to my room and I would take her in my arms and we would be friends again.

Needless to say that she never showed up. Unfortunately, another day, she came up the staircase at the very moment another girl had fallen around my neck because she had just learned that she could accompany me as my assistant to my interview with the Latvian President (on a day my dear friend had to work). I ran after my dear friend and explained to her why this other girl had fallen around my neck. I told her that she was just a friend. She tried to remain calm and responded that she had many friends too.

I repeatedly went out with four young students, two of them have boyfriends. No problems with any of them. Age was not the problem with my dear friend, but hurt feelings. Love can easily turn into hate. You may say that her behavior was somewhat childish, but after all, she is not only a gorgeous woman, but still very young. But in the end, of course, it was all my fault and I felt terrible.

That is how I lost 4 kg in 4 days - and a gorgeous friend too, because of fatherly and -let's face it - also some less fatherly feelings.

P.S. After two weeks and one day, the war of the sexes came to an end and we finally made peace. Let's hope that this friendship lasts - and that I don't regain 4 kg.

Books about Latvia and Riga from, and

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.